Anyway, my latest adventure was I was getting myself all excited to buy a new digital camera. I bought my current one about three years ago – just before my trip to Paris and Spain (with my traveling-buddy LL for those of you who know our polyglot friend). I already knew which one I wanted – a tiny little one that had 5.1 megapixels (vs. 2.1 on the current one). I found it on sale at Circuit City and bought it on-line, despite the early-adopter price, and made arrangements to pick it up at the store on my way home. Thrilled with the rush of consumerism, I called and told the GF all about my new purchase. Because the GF knew I already had a camera that worked perfectly well – her initial response can best be summarized along the lines of “But, why?”. To her credit, she feigned support and affection for me in my excitement very well on the phone call – much like how one expresses love and support for one’s nephews and nieces when they tell you excitedly about how they saw Santa at the mall and told him all about what they want for Christmas so they’re sure they’ll get whatever they asked for yep, you betcha!
But it stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Why had I just spent that much on a camera where the only benefit was a slightly smaller size and the ability to print bigger pictures than I ever needed to before? By the time I hit the store on the way home (in the middle of a migraine) it got worse. I realized that I’d also need to purchase a new memory card plus a second battery and a case to put it all in – all of which would push the price from “early adopter” to “just plain stupid”. Despite this, I continued my little inner dialogue:
Rational Jason: “Listen, you know this is going to end up costing way more than you thought it would.”
Tech-Geek Jason: “Yeah but look at all the buttons!!! And it’s soooOOOOOOooooo small!!!!!!”
RJ: “Wouldn’t would rather have that money to spend on your trip to Ecuador next weekend?”
TGJ: “It’s got a 3X optical zoom! We’ll be able to zoom in on birds that we see in the jungle and…stuff!”
RJ: “Remember how the GF sounded like we were crazy when we told her about it? Do you want her to think we have some sort of psychological problem?”
TGJ: [sadly, like a 6 year old who realizes he’s wrong] “Well…I guess not….
RJ: “How about we buy a nice little camera bag for the camera we have now instead?”
TGJ: [Brightening up again] “Oh YEAH! We’ll need one with a pocket for our spare battery and one for the extra memory card in case we run out, and…”
So, after spending a stressful hour agonizing over the decision in the store, I stepped back from the brink, cancelled the order, and left the store feeling better than ever before about the whole experience. My little camera will do just fine for at least one more international trip. We didn’t get a camera bag because there was nobody at the checkout, but I’ll just have to hit Target instead. They’re only about ten bucks anyway.
Maybe this is a sign that I’m slowly getting over my impulse buying habit. Maybe I’m finally maturing into a responsible adult who makes sensible decisions about how I spend my money. Maybe it just means that, subconsciously, I’d really rather spend the money on a grill for the deck.